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Is there a 'plan' if Minneapolis passes the amendment to dismantle MPD?

City council members intended to craft an ordinance "so voters can really see what they’re voting for," but were stopped by a city attorney in May.

MINNEAPOLIS — One of the biggest lingering questions regarding the ballot question that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department is: What's the plan if it passes?

The Minneapolis City Council has spent a lot of time discussing various ideas since the day 16 months ago when they stood on a stage that said "Defund Police" and pledged to dismantle MPD.

But just five months ago, they were cautioned by a city attorney about putting together a thorough plan.

With impassioned sarcasm, MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo voiced the biggest concern from the "Vote No" on Question 2 crowd — the lack of a plan if the amendment passes.

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"I was not expecting some robust, detailed, word-for-word plan, but at this point, quite frankly, I would take a drawing on a napkin, and I have not seen either," Arradondo said.

But in May, city council members gave an outline of a plan for a new Department of Public Safety to replace the Minneapolis Police Department, including a department organizational chart, a vision and some specifics to how police would no longer respond to certain 911 calls.

"We will create alternative responses to emergency calls that produce better outcomes as we are already doing this year with mental health response and report-only calls," council member Steve Fletcher explained.

Credit: KARE 11

Fletcher said many more specifics would come over the summer when the city council would craft an ordinance that defines the actual department.

"And we'll work in public to create a clear outline of the ordinance that will enact the charter language so voters can really see what they're voting for," Fletcher said.

That ordinance, Fletcher said, would let voters "really see what they're voting for," but it was never created after city ethics officer Susan Trammel stepped in.

"I want to caution this group that using city resources to generate support for a charter amendment," Trammel said, "could be viewed as a violation of using city resources for ballot question support."

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Trammel said city officials could use resources to educate and explain differences between things on the ballot, but not promote either side.

That stopped the public promotion of possible plans of what would happen if the ballot initiative passed. None of the council members chose to lay out a plan as part of their individual campaigns either.

Now, supporters say the work to implement ideas can begin if and when the measure passes, while opponents say there is too much unknown to make such a change to the city charter.

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